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Question DetailsAsked on 12/15/2016

I have condensation on all windows my roof is new and now have water coming through the ceiling just on the front

My home is 25 years old original windows we have a humidifier that is working to take the condensation out of the air. Every single window is covered with condensation and mold. The roof is less then a year old. The front of the house is now leaking water in the ceiling and the roofer came out & said it wasn't wet in the attic so it isn't the roof that is the problem. He said the hot air and condensation on the windows was the problem but now the corners of the ceiling are producing the droplets of water. The ceiling is getting moldy. This is ruining my house I had these rooms painted & now the water is ruining everything. The front of the house has a overhang about 2 feet that goes the entire length of the house and the roofer did put shingles on there. Where it is leaking it wouldn't be at the attic it would be at the overhang and the crease of the ceiling. I need help with the water and the mold.

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2 Answers


I am going to guess that your 25 year old windows are single pane and metal frames, please tell me if I am right.

Answered 3 years ago by the new window man


If this is a steady drip - not just beading up of water on the ceiling with a long period between drips, it is almost certainly a roof leak - or water pipe (or boiler or waterheater if those are up there) leak if you have pipes in the attic, or leakage of air conditioner condensate if you have an air conditioner operating up there.

Immediate partial remedy for the mold/wetness - increase interior ventilation and temperature in the problem areas (by ventilation I mean venting moist inside air to the outside) unless it is as hot and near 100% humidIty outside; and wipe the windows several times a day with a rag or towel to sop up the condensed moisture - then wash towel or hang outside so the moisture does not evaporate off it right back into the house. Launder daily to prevent mold growth in the towel itself. Paper towels will work too - just takes a bunch each pass - keep covered in trash until it goes out to prevent evaporation back into the house air.

If this condensation is a new occurrence (and you are not hitting very cold (subzero probably) temps in your area which could be causing major wall and window condensation), then you clearly have excessive moisture in the house. If you are fairly new to the home, then you might not know if this is a "new" occurrence or a function of how you live, or if you have a house with lousy insulation.

If you are in the current Midwest cold snap, then if the condensation started with the cold snap could be your insulation is not great, then likely the relatively high moisture in the house before it hit is now condensing on the much colder walls and ceilings (and the lower portion of windows and then ceiling corners are commonly the first place this happens). Wiping the moisture off the walls and windows, running dehumidifier (and empty pan frequently because with many models the moisture just reevaporates from there back into the air), and increase air changes in the house (even though that will mean more heating demand) by running kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans with interior household doors open to allow air movement to the fans.

IF you can get into the attic, and/or up under the eaves (requiring removing soffit covers if you have them) to look in under the eaves, you should be able to see (with a STRONG LED or 6V lantern type flashlight), if there is water/ice on the insulation or on the underside of the roof sheathing, water staining- or free water drips. Might be able to see from the ground if it is leaking in the overhang area which would almost always be due to glaciering (ice damming) on the overhang, but normally you need a ladder to get up close under there to check out at the eaves (watch out for nails sticking through the roof sheathing - VERY hard on the old noggin and shoulders). IF you can readily get into the attic, the inspection can normally be done from the ground outside and from inside the attic without ladder work.

Note in cold weather (say below about maybe 10-20 degrees) many (or most) attics will have a frost buildup on the underside of the sheathing or at least on the nails sticking through it, maybe on the framing, and maybe also on the top of flat-lying "floor" insulation - unless this frost is thick (say a quarter to half inch or more) or has solid ice icicles hanging down (which would almost always be from a leak, not frost) this is NOT necessarily indicative of a problem leading to water inside the house. That frost commonly evapotranspires away (evaporates directly from frost to moisture in the air without forming significant free water) as the air temp outdoors increases. Usually not a leak source, while it might surface dampen the wood surface and the insulation and form surficial mildew but usually not mold patches. Generally, that type of frosting is pretty much attic wide except maybe near the heating system vent - if it is very localized or thickj then that is likely indicative of a roof leak if heavy on the underside of the roof, or an opening into the house if accumulating on top of the insulation in a thick layer. Unless a solid coating pushing 1/2 inch or more thick usually (in a floor insulated attic) will not result in free water that will leak into the house unless you get a flash thaw or have VERY poor attic ventilation. If in question about that if you have that case, you would have to check the insulation over where the ceiling is dripping to see if the insulation is soaked and/or if there is free water on top of the vapor barrier and/or ceiling drywall in the "floor" of the attic.

One thing you did not mention - does your attic have ridge vents, and can you see if the eaves are open to airflow - because if your attic is not well ventilated or they insulated during the roroof and blocked the eave vents, that could result in excessive moisture buildup from air leaks from the house through the ceiling, causing heavy frosting which would then pool when it melts on warmer days.

Given the time of year (not knowing where you are located) a prime suspicion ifthe roof IS leaking would be ice damming - melting snow or rain-on-snow filtering down the roof through the snow, then freezing on a bare overhang or at the eaves of the roof in the cold outside air - or if a very low slope roof, possibly backed up/iced up gutters/ scuppers/ drains causing icing backup. Normally occurs on the overhang where both the top and bottom of the roof are air-cooled - commonly the roof over the house itself is warm enough (except in very cold temps - generally below about 10-15 or below) that it melts the underside of the snow pack and self-drains down the roof. Can also occur at the lower edge of snowpack that has been partly cleared or melted back - the water runs through the snow on top of the roofing (insulated by the snow so it is liquid at the interface) but then freezes at the bottom edge of the snowpack where it hits the cold air and exposed roof - which is normally at the eave line but can at times be higher up on the roof, especially in cases where the owner has cleared the snow on the overhang/eave area mistakingly thinking doing so will remove the source of the ice damming.

The water freezing on the roof causes an ice dam when it hits the cold exposed roof and open air, which can back water up under the shingles or tiles, commonly not leaking on the overhang because that generally has (or at least should have in any area subject ot true freezing temps in the winter) ice and water shield over the plywood sheathing on it. Ice and water shield is a totally waterproof water barrier designed to stop this leakage, placed over the sheathing before reroofing. But if the ice and water shield was not put down, or if the water backup reaches further up the roof than the usual 3-6 foot band of ice and water shield along the bottom edge of the roof, then it can leak through the water barrier in many cases (especially if tarpaper rather than full continuous sheet synthetic barrier) and leak through the sheathing, commonly dripping at the top of the outside wall or just inside the wall into the attic.

Here is a link to a visual explanation of ice damming - the upstairs ceiling drywall commonly has a plastic sheet vapor barrier on top of it, stapled to the bottom of the ceiling joists or roof trusses before the ceiling is put up - so leakage into the attic area, as the diagram shows, commonly pools on top of that vapor barrier until it can leak out at a seam or the edge, or rarely pools near the center of a room and causes drywall collapse. Commonly at the edge of a vapor barrier sheet along a wall (outside or interior wall parallel to it, depending on slope of joists/trusses), resulting in leakage either through the ceiling right at the inside face of the outside wall (where your drips are), or down into the wall itself.

I would, when the ceiling is dripping, climb up on something and thoroughly dry that area with a towel - then see if it starts showing wetness and dripping again almost immediately. IF it starts dripping again very soon you have water pooling on top or along the top of the wall,, which you could prove by poking a small hole in it (be ready for a small flood). If it takes a long time (say well over 15 minutes or so) to start condensing and dripping again, then is almost certainly from high inside humidity condensing at a location where the insulation in the attic is usually thin - right at the outside wall where the roofline is commonly down close to the top of the wall so there is not room for significant insulation. If this latter is the case, you likely have condensation occurring all along the edge of the ceiling at the outside wall(s) - maybe just a thin line of it at the angle of ceiling and wall, but run a paper towel along to check. Or maybe occurs only on one side of the house because that side is ice damming, but other side is either warm/sunny enough to melt off and not ice up, or is cold enough and/or sun free enough to not form an ice dam - so the snow is staying frozen.

This sort of one-sided ice damming problem is very common on north-facing and sometimes east-facing roof sections in areas with winter but not real cold - where those faces freeze and thaw daily, but the south and west facing surfaces melt free fairly quickly so they do not dam up. In colder areas (generally below about 15-20 or so) it is commonly the opposite - the north and east facing roof sections may stay well frozen, but solar heating in the day on south and west sides can cause snow melting which dribbles down the roof, but when the sun goes down the overhang freezes up rapidly as the air temp drops and radiative heat loss cools the roof and snow, so it causes icicles and ice damming. This sort of behavior can also happen at gutters, especially if tucked up tight under the roofing and/or metal, with the icicles that form on the edges of the shingles from roofmelt dripping or rainfall forming as the air cools forming an ice mass in the gutters, which can then back water up at the edge of the roof, or develop into full ice damming on the roof surface over multiple days time. This can also be a common occurrence with heavy snowfalls (because the thick snow insulates the roof surface, causing the bottom of the snowpack to melt from the heat passing through from the attic), after rains on snow, and in periods of daily freeze-thaw until the snowpack melts away.

Sometimes you get ice damming only downhill from the warm kitchen and bathroom exhaust vents and from the warm heating system and/or fireplace ducts or metal duct chimneys (brick or stone or architectural "fake" chimneys generally do not get warm enough on the outside to cause glaciering).

Ditto to frozen scuppers or drain pipes on flat or near-flat roofs, icing up and causing ice damming or ponding.


Depending on whether you trust the roofer (presuming this was the one who put the roof on a year ago) to have told the truth rather than lie so as to not to have to do a warranty repair, if you cannot inspect and diagnose it yourself you could get another roofer to check - or a Handyman. Not that I am calling hiom a liar - but some contractors, especially if near to expiration of their warranty period, will say there is not a problem when there actually is to avoid having to do the repair for nothing.

Certainly, if you have drips from the ceiling you either have a leak from the attic or an incredible moisture issue inside the house - so likely condensing on walls (at least cooler parts of) and exterior doors as well as the windows. IF not from a leaky roof (or on flat roofs) a backup from icing on the overhang or frozen drains), then would normally be from a LOT of evaporation/steam from cooking (lots of frying or boiling without an over-stove vent fan on), a kitchen vent fan which is not properly vented to the outside (many contractors skimp and vent it into the attic - worst thing they could do because it can cause heavy frosting which can then melt and leak into the house as well as cause rot), a significant leak somewhere putting moisture into the air, clothes dryer or steam clothes or dish washer venting into the house rather than outdoors, a wet basement or crawlspace putting moisture up into the house, a lot of house plants or open top aquariums/ terrariums, indoor pool or sauna or hot tub or steam shower putting a lot of water into the air, forced air furnace humidifier running too much in the winter, or not using kitchen or bathroom fans to remove moisture. This latter is commonly the cause, especially with teenagers in the house taking long showers - fans should run during and about 1/2-1 hour after a shower or hot bath or steamy cooking to remove the moisture so it does not get out into the house).

Professionally, if you cannot tie down the source, then an Energy Auditor or Insulation contractor with a thermal infrared camera - or you renting one for about $75/day at Home Depot or tool rental or some auto parts stores can use the camera to find moist spots in the walls and ceilings and roof and such, and see "hot spots" in the roof indicating a leak. Many smart phones and tablets with built-in cameras can also recalibrate the camera temporarily with an App to give you near-infrared imaging by the camera (biases the cameara towards near-infrared part of the spectrum) - not as good as true infrared but can show bulk issues with wet walls/ceilings/roofs and areas with very poor insulation. (Most modern iPhones and iPads come with this capability built-in - you just adjust the camera settings - maybe some other brands come with it built in too, I don't know).

For immediate mold neutralization, and eventual mold removal after the water source issue is resolved, Mold Testing (which you do not needr DIY with proper protective gear, some research on how to do it, and a fair amount of elbow grease.

BTW - one after-thought - you said you "I had these rooms painted..." - if you mean you JUST had them painted, if with acrylic latex or latex paint and the moisture issue began right after that (within 1-2 days) then it could be the moisture from the paint causing the condensation - the painter should have warned you about needing to maintain good ventilation for at least a full day to two to remove the moisture evaporating from the paint - which is typically about 50-70% of the total paint volume, so several gallons of moisture per painted room. If this is not removed from the rooms it can cause condensation and mold, which condensation on new paint will typically ruin the paint finish as well even without the mold.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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